BATH TOWNSHIP — Cam Jenkins had seen fastballs and hit them his last three times at bat, but none of them were hit as hard and as far as the last one.
Bath’s junior catcher launched a two-run walk-off home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Wildcats a 6-4 win over Minster on Thursday at Bath.
Eric Jordan led off the seventh inning with a single. After Colin Gossard sacrificed pinch-runner Hayden Atkins to second base, Jenkins ended it.
It was the final, decisive momentum swing in a game in which both teams had led by as many as two runs earlier.
Minster jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first. Bath answered with a run in the bottom of the first, then went up 4-2 in the third inning. Minster came back with two runs on one hit in the fifth inning to tie it at 4-4, and it stayed that way until Jenkins’ first home run of his high school career.
“I didn’t know for sure but when I hit it I thought I had a pretty good chance. The wind was blowing out and everything,” Jenkins said.
He singled in the third and fifth innings in his two at bats before the game-winning hit. All of them came on fastballs that were up in the strike zone, he said.
All of those hits were a welcome sight, Bath coach Brian Jesko said.
“I’m proud of him because he’s a kid that has struggled a little bit up to this point. He has hit the ball hard our last couple games. He has built some confidence,” Jesko said.
Cam Clark started on the mound for Bath (15-4) and pitched into the fifth inning. Andrew Renner relieved him with the bases loaded and no one out and finished the game.
“Our two young pitchers, both sophomores, came in today and kept us in the ballgame,” Jesko said. “And we played good defense.”
Even though the outcome wasn’t what Minster (11-10) wanted, its coach Mike Wiss was much happier with what he saw than what he witnessed in a 12-2 loss to St. Henry on Wednesday.
“Yesterday we went to St. Henry and it was error city, it was poor discipline in the box. We got better today. Today we played right with Bath. Yesterday, we rolled over and gave St. Henry everything they wanted,” he said. “I’m happy with the competitiveness that we showed that we didn’t show yesterday.”
Minster took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Bath error and four straight singles. Matthew Trushaw, the starting pitcher for Minster, and Drew Ripploh had run-scoring hits.
Bath got a run in the bottom half of that inning on an infield single by leadoff hitter Eric Heffner, a ground out and a wild pitch.
The Wildcats took a 4-2 lead in the third inning on a run-scoring double by Jordan and a two-run single by Jenkins.
Minster got two runs in the top of the fifth inning with both runs scoring when batters were hit by pitches.
Clark hit Trushaw, the last batter he faced, with a pitch with the bases loaded, and two batters later Renner hit Clay Brown with a pitch to push the tying run across the plate.
Bath got out of that inning without giving up any more runs, though, when it turned an inning-ending double play. Third baseman Jared Davis picked up a grounder and threw home to Jenkins for a force out, then Jenkins’ throw to first base just beat Max Huber.